Friday, November 17, 2017

Rabi-Ribi Review (PS4)

How much you’ll enjoy Rabi-Ribi depends almost entirely on your tolerance for scantily clad anime girls and fanservice. If you dig it, you’ll find a fantastically crafted 2D action platformer with a great art style. If you don’t dig the fanservice, well, you’re probably already writing an angry rant about how moe is killing anime and games and are clearly too busy to play (and certainly too uptight to enjoy) Rabi-Ribi. Personally, I fall into the first group. The cute and sexy artwork is what drew me to Rabi-Ribi in the first place, but the surprising combination of genres – it’s a 2D platformer, Metroidvania, bullet hell, RPG – and incredible amount of content kept me hooked. Rabi-Ribi is awesome! Check out our full PS4 review for all of the details.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Sekai Project            
  • Developer: Crespirit
  • ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
  • Genre: 2D Action Platformer
  • Pros: Awesome mix of genres; very cute character designs; solid gameplay; great presentation; difficulty options
  • Cons: Fanservice might put some people off
  • MSRP: $30

Rabi-Ribi takes place in a world made up almost exclusively of cute girls. Just about every anime trope and character design is represented and it’s all quite nice if you’re into that sort of thing. You play as a rabbit named Erina who wakes up one day to discover she has been turned into a human bunnygirl. Her first goal is to make it back to her owner and then after that to try to figure out what is causing all sorts of strange phenomena in the world (and a rabbit turning into a girl is the least of their problems). Along the way she meets a ton of new friends, including a fairy named Ribbon who becomes her partner (get it – Rabbit and Ribbon = Rabi Ribi).

The story and dialogue is all text based and is a little dry and not especially captivating, to be honest. I do like all of the characters, though, and once the gameplay kicks into high gear any issues with the storytelling are easy to forget. I also have to say that while the game does feature very cute and occasionally sexy character designs, I don’t find any of it particularly over the top. Like I said, though, I like this type of artwork and fanservice in general anyway, so maybe I’m not the best judge of what is “too” sexy and “too” fanservice-y.

Gameplay is what is most important, of course, and Rabi-Ribi really shines here. I was honestly not expecting it to be this deep and complex, which was a wonderful surprise. At its core Rabi-Ribi is a 2D platformer, but it also has Metroidvania exploration elements, RPG leveling and conversation systems, and screen filling bullet hell-style boss attack patterns. When you put it all together it is an extremely satisfying 2D action game. The controls are very tight and precise and dodging through hails of bullets feels great. Moving around the world – with the high jump, double jump, going through small spaces, etc. moves that every Metroidvania has – also feels good. Exploration is great and the world is absolutely filled with hidden secrets and powerups to find. Combat is also interesting because you have a physical melee attack as well as various projectile attacks and it all just works really well and feels great. Rabi-Ribi is just a great playing game.

It is also a surprisingly long game, too. I was skeptical of the $30 price tag initially, but I can say with confidence that you’re getting your money’s worth here. After playing several hours the item and character and badge screens in the menus were still mostly empty, which meant I still had a ton to do and discover, which is awesome. It takes about 12-hours to finish the story and at least twice that to discover all of the secrets and beat it 100%. For $30 that’s a heck of a lot better than most “AAA” games.

One other thing about the gameplay that needs mentioning is that it can be extremely and occasionally frustratingly difficult. This may be a cute bunnygirl game but the gameplay has some teeth. Thankfully the game has some options for difficulty modes to make it more accessible. Interestingly, there is even an option to turn off specific required items for certain boss fights, which means you can fight and beat bosses even if you don’t have the correct items. I like that option since it means you can just plow forward and make progress at your own pace rather than exploring and Metroidvania-ing it up too hard if you don’t want to. Options are always a good thing and making sure everyone can enjoy a game is a great design philosophy.

The presentation in Rabi-Ribi is either going to be the most appealing or most off-putting aspect of the package, but I happen to love it. The mix of 16-bit sprites during gameplay and more detailed character portraits during dialogue works extremely well and the characters all look great. The sound is also fantastic with a great soundtrack that matches the oldschool style.

All in all, Rabi-Ribi is a fantastic all around package. The presentation is great, the gameplay feels awesome, and there is a ton of content to play through. I was all in based on just the art, so it was nice to find such a fun and full-featured game underneath. If you like 2D platformers / Metroidvanias and are interested in the bullet hell twist, Rabi-Ribi is a pretty fantastic indie game I can highly recommend. Buy it. Unless you hate cute bunnygirls. In which case, why am I even talking to you?
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.